“On the Turntable” — Christian McBride’s The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons
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“On the Turntable” — Christian McBride’s The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons

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Just as it did during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War protests, music is playing an important political and inspirational role in the Black Lives Matter movement and the worldwide protests in support of it. As of this writing, the two-day old, 65 song “Black Lives Matter” playlist on Spotify already numbers almost one million followers, and features artists from four generations, including James Brown, Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Bob Marley, Gil Scott-Heron, N.W.A., Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar, Esperanza Spalding, Nipsey Hussle, Ludacris, and Killer Mike. The list’s diversity of musical styles shares the common theme of exposing and fighting the systemic racism that for too long as been a centerpiece of America’s story.

In light of this, a jazz recording that has caught my ear is Christian McBride’s The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons, an hour-long suite of recreated oral history and McBride’s original, interpretive music. (The album was recorded in 2013 but released by Mack Avenue Records for the first time earlier this year).

The top bass player of his generation, McBride’s suite is comprised of notable quotations by four of the civil rights era’s most important leaders – Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Martin Luther King – interspersed with compelling, often powerful music performed by an impressive array of revered jazz musicians and the gospel choir Voices of the Flame. The result is political, of course, but it is also a poetic, theatrical, spiritual, and spirited reminder of how far we have come, and how far we have to go.

It remains to be seen if this album will ever be viewed as a cultural force in the way those on the Spotify list are, although given the extent of this era’s protests it is entirely possible. Regardless, McBride has done important work here, and at the very least it is a meaningful addition to any “Black Lives Matter” playlist.

Read Article: Jerry Jazz Musician